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Cristina Della Coletta - UC San Diego. San Diego, CA, US

Cristina Della Coletta Cristina Della Coletta

Dean, Division of Arts and Humanities | UC San Diego


Cristina Della Colletta focuses on arts and humanities in higher education, historical fiction, Italian studies and cultural studies.



Cristina Della Coletta Publication Cristina Della Coletta Publication Cristina Della Coletta Publication Cristina Della Coletta Publication




Meet Cristina Della Coletta, Dean of Arts and Humanities



Cristina Della Coletta was appointed dean of the Division of Arts and Humanities at UC San Diego in August 2014. As dean, they hold the Chancellor's Associates Chair in Italian Literature. Prior to arriving at UC San Diego, Della Coletta served as associate dean for humanities and the arts, in the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia, where they were also a professor of Italian in the Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.

Della Coletta's research and teaching interests include historical fiction, Italian cinema and film adaptation, women’s and cultural studies, and the use of technology in the humanities.

They are the author of the books “When Stories Travel: Cross-Cultural Encounters Between Fiction and Film” (Johns Hopkins UP 2012); “World’s Fairs Italian-Style: The Great Expositions in Turin and Their Narratives” (Toronto UP, 2006); and “Plotting the Past: Metamorphoses of Historical Narrative in Modern Italian Fiction” (Purdue UP, 1996). Della Coletta is completing a digital project titled “Turin 1911: The World’s Fair in Italy,” which began under the aegis of a fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH) at the University of Virginia (2009-2011). They are also working on a book manuscript tentatively titled “Fascist Spectacles: The Semiotics of Power and the Languages of Dissent During the Fascist Era in Italy (1922-1943).”

In 2006, Della Coletta was awarded the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize in Italian Studies for “World’s Fairs Italian-Style.” They received numerous teaching and mentoring awards, such as the University of Virginia Faculty Mentoring Award in 2012, the UVA Alumni Association Distinguished Professor Award in 2010, and the Horace W. Goldsmith Distinguished Teaching Award in 2005. Della Coletta was a visiting professor at the John Hopkins University (2004) and has lectured extensively in the United States and Europe. Their articles and reviews have appeared in PMLA, MLN, Italica, Rivista di studi italiani, The Italianist, Annali di’Italianistica and Studi novecenteschi, among other journals.

As dean of the UC San Diego Division of Arts and Humanities, Della Coletta established the Institute of Arts and Humanities, Institute for Practical Ethics, Preparing Accomplished Transfers to the Humanities program and Arts and Community Engagement initiative.

Areas of Expertise (11)

Arts in Higher Education

Humanities in Higher Education

Higher Education Access

Transfer Students

Cultural Studies

Arts, humanities and technology

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Film Adaptation

Historical Fiction

Italian Cinema

Women's Studies

Accomplishments (5)

Fellow: Berkeley Institute on Higher Education

UC Berkeley 2014

Fellow: Institute for Management and Leadership in Education

Harvard Graduate School of Education 2013

UVA Faculty Mentoring Award


University Seminars in International Studies Grant


Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize in Italian Studies for “World’s Fairs Italian-Style”


Education (3)

UCLA: Ph.D., Italian 1993

University of Virginia: M.A., Italian

Università di Venezia, Italy: Laurea in Lingue e letterature straniere

Affiliations (4)

  • Italica : Editorial Board
  • Modern Language Studies : Reader
  • Quaderni d’italianistica : Reader
  • South Atlantic Review : Editorial Board

Languages (2)

  • English
  • Italian

Media Appearances (11)

Culture Report: What Arts Can Teach Scientists, and Vice-Versa

Voice of San Diego  


“They’re going to use our proposal as a model for others in the future,” said Cristina Della Coletta, dean of UCSD’s Division of Arts and Humanities, which encompasses the institute. It’s hard to discuss the arts at UCSD without also questioning what it means for arts to exist in a science-centric institution, but Della Coletta wants to overcome that “either/or” assumption. Rather than pitting science against the arts, she hopes the institute will help UCSD to “educate the whole individual.”...

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Division of Arts and Humanities Receives $750,000 NEH Infrastructure Award

UC San Diego News  online


“This funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities is a catalyst for UC San Diego, not only in supporting our fundraising goals but also in acknowledging that a top, public university serves its students best by giving them a well-rounded, complete education that includes arts and humanities as much as science and mathematics,” said Division of Arts and Humanities Dean Cristina Della Coletta. “There is no question that this support is instrumental in validating the humanities to students, faculty, alumni and the public at large.”

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Live, Learn, Play: Vibrant New Neighborhood to Break Ground on Campus

UC San Diego News  


The Arts and Humanities Building will also be home to the Institute of Arts and Humanities and the Analytical Writing Program, initiatives that Della Coletta calls “key to extending the scholarly fundamentals derived from the humanities to the full spectrum of academic knowledge.”

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Bridging the Arts between UC San Diego and San Diego Unified School District

UC San Diego News  online


“An important aspect of any education is giving students the opportunity to explore all avenues of interest, with the outcome of having well-rounded, culturally competent individuals,” said UC San Diego Division of Arts and Humanities Dean Cristina Della Coletta. “It’s not that students choose arts or science. They can choose both, knowing that the arts exponentially enhance every subject, sparking innovation and new ideas.”

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Should we bring back the Woolly Mammoth?

University of California  


“Through this institute, we focus our efforts to see that the scientific progress of both our university and global community will include and benefit all people, that our curiosity will be matched by our empathy and that good science is responsible, socially conscious science,” said Cristina Della Coletta, dean of the division. “Our strong interdisciplinary culture has laid the groundwork for ethicists, philosophers, sociologies, scientists and policymakers to work together, welcoming collaboration with fellow academics both on and off campus.”...

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Using Science and Humanities to Step Back in Time

UC San Diego News  online


“It’s a phenomenal opportunity to have the Division of Arts and Humanities partner with the Cultural Heritage Engineering Initiative, the Jacobs School of Engineering and, on top of that, the Polytechnic University in Turin,” said Della Coletta. “What better place to engage in a project that connects engineering and technology with the humanities.”

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Designing an Italian Style at Universal Expositions (video)

Villanova University  online


The Villanova University Italian Studies program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences presents its fourth annual Italian lecture series. This year’s series, “Italy and the Design of Modern Beauty,” invites students and scholars to explore the lasting effects Italian beauty has had on modern design. Cristina Della Coletta, PhD, University of California San Diego, presents “Designing an Italian Style at Universal Expositions”.

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UC San Diego Strength in Humanities Leads to Inclusion in Prestigious Research Consortium

UC San Diego News  online


“The strength in humanities research and education at UC San Diego is remarkable, and inclusion by the American Council of Learned Societies is a welcome reflection of the hard work, dedication and ground-breaking research being done by our outstanding faculty and students,” said Cristina Della Coletta, Dean of the Division of Arts and Humanities. “We are honored by the invitation to be a part of this prestigious consortium, and look forward to participating fully.”

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UC San Diego’s Division of Arts and Humanities Wins Its Largest Foundation Grant

UC San Diego News  online


Della Coletta and her team worked closely with SDCCD’s Chancellor Constance Carroll and staff to propose, “Activating the Humanities in the 21st Century: A Collaborative Path for Transfer Students from Community College to Research University and Beyond.” The project connects faculty and students from both institutions through shared programs, teaching and support activities.

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Making the case for the arts and humanities

The San Diego Union-Tribune  


It’s a question that’s constantly on Cristina Della Coletta’s mind: In an increasingly technology-oriented environment, how do the arts and the humanities fit in? And with students understandably looking at the practical ramifications of their education, how do you persuade more of them to study the arts and humanities? “This is our biggest challenge,” said Coletta, who recently completed her first year as dean of the Division of Arts and Humanities at the University of California San Diego. “It is the biggest challenge in every public or private, small or large institution of higher education in the U.S. today.”...

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UC San Diego Launches Institute of Arts and Humanities

UC San Diego News  online


“This overarching entity serves as a consolidated, yet richly diverse, resource for improving the effectiveness of humanities study as it impacts our fast-evolving, interconnected world,” said the division’s Dean Cristina Della Coletta, who considers this a critical objective reflective of UC San Diego’s #1 ranking in the nation for its impact on society.

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Articles (5)

Intersecting humanities: The transfer experience between community colleges and universities


Cristina Della Coletta


Division dean Cristina Della Coletta asks if universities are ready to meet the needs that transfer students bring, highlighting on the importance of equity, diversity and inclusion in the humanities.

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Preparing — and Welcoming — Our Accomplished Transfers to Campus


Cristina Della Coletta


The speech was given July 1 at the opening dinner for the 2018 PATH Summer Academy, welcoming new students to the Preparing Accomplished Transfers to the Humanities program, the Division of Arts and Humanities and UC San Diego.

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The awes and woes of modernity: Gozzano gazzettiere and the Great Exhibition of Turin 1911

Forum Italicum : A Journal of Italian Studies

Cristina Della Coletta

2017 This article discusses the prose pieces that Guido Gozzano wrote about the 1911 International Exposition in Turin. Against previous interpretations, I argue that, rather than constituting either an organic and carefully designed corpus or an assemblage of discreet and extemporary articles, Gozzano’s exposition narratives were, simultaneously, calculated and inconsistent, staged and contradictory. I demonstrate that these narratives should be seen as testimonials of Gozzano’s changing positions and multiple perspectives, as he experimented with different personas and plural interpretations in a moment of both commemorative celebration (the 50th anniversary of the Unification of Italy) and rapid epistemic change in the name of modernity, technology, and progress.

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Biographies of Displacement and the Utopian Imagination: Anna Maria Ortese, Hannah Arendt, and the Artist as ‘Conscious Pariah


Cristina Della Coletta


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Of Work and Leisure: Digital World’s Fairs and the Active Fairgoer


Cristina Della Coletta


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